The United States has had a long and controversial history when it comes to the U.S prison system. Holding only approximately 5% of the global population; U.S prisoners account for almost 25% of the worlds prisoners, having even more than China; a nation with almost a billion more citizens than the U.S (PrisonStudies.org) Even when considering these alarming statistics, discussing the method of caring for, feeding, and rehabilitating prisoners in the U.S is often avoided as many United States citizens are uninformed on the subject. Perhaps because of this lack on information; certain states have begun handing over the responsibilities of running U.S prisons to private companies. These privately owned prisons are run by corporations; and
The History of prisons goes through many eras. Many of these eras have a major impact on today’s prison system. The different was that the system worked and didn’t work really showed what was possibly and what should not be tried again. Each era tried to do something new are recreate something that had already been done by making changes to the way that they treated the inmates all the way to how they were housed and how much contact they had with one another. The different eras gave the present day prison system many great things to think about. Such as large capacity housing so you can properly use all the space in the prison and hold it to capacity. There is also the parole system that gives inmates a chance to work get out early and spend the rest of their sentence on the outside. These many great traits that the prison system today has all come from the hundreds of years of trial and error that occurred throughout the world.
In America today, there is a trend in corrections of taking the duty of running prisons out of the hands of state and federal authorities and contracting it out to private organizations. Along with the drift to privatization is a plethora of research pertaining to the subject taking many different approaches to analyzing the effectiveness. The majority of research focuses on one of three areas. The first questioning whether or not it is cost effective to make the switch. The second being the ethical problems that can and have risen from the privatization of prisons. The third being a wide painting of the change and the implications it has on society as a whole.
In many of the contracts between private prisons and the state, prisons actually get a guarantee that their prisons will be filled up which mean more money to the company. In the Public Interest, an organization dedicated to high quality accurate research for the public, analyzed 62 contracts from private facilities and found that 41 of the contracts contained quotas. These quotas were occupancy requirements that the
According to statistical data found in the Bureau for Justice Records, there are a number of problems that most prisons in the country face. The records indicate that the number of adult federal and state inmates increased from `139% in `1980 to 260% (Walker, 1999). As a natural default, the United States of America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This in itself brings about one of the major problems that are faced in modern incarceration which is overcrowding in most prison facilities. The number of offenders in the country has increased rapidly over time while the country prison system has not really been able to cope with this rapid increase. Prisons intended for one or two inmates are now crowded with more than fifty individuals. Because of this most prisons are overcrowded and most of the facilities available are unable to cater for the needs of all the prisoners (Siegel, 2009).
The United States has the largest prison population in the world. The U.S.’s path to our over population has been decades in the making. “The United States makes up about 4 percent of the world’s population, and it accounts for 22 percent of the world’s prison population.” (Lopez). Prison over population is a growing concern within our society creating and contributing factors include longer sentences, rising costs, prison gangs, rapes, racism and mental health issues.
In 1996, Arthur Wallenstein reported that between 1995 and1996 the prison population had a 4.2% increase from 486,474 to 507,044. Overpopulation in prisons has caused many problems for the government since the 1700's. The entire prison system in twelve states is under court orders concerning the overcrowding of their penal system. The imprisonment rates his three to four times greater than some European countries. In 1994 alone, Kupers reports that there were over one million prisoners in America. Some prisons have dealt with this problem by turning gyms and recreational rooms into make shift dormitories. Problems with this include the terrible noise that echoed through the rooms, the inability to sufficiently clean the lack of privacy and the loss of facilities used to accommodate the excessive prisoners. In a New York prison had a population of 7,921, exceeding the limit by 88% according to Barbara A. Nadel's report done in 1996. In 1997, Johnson, Bennett, and Flanagan have reported that the prison rate in America has more than quadrupled since
The United States is regarded as a country of innovation and progress. However, the prison and disciplinary systems in the U.S. fall short in several aspects. With the highest incarceration rate in the world, one might expect American prisons to be prepared for providing quality care and rehabilitation for inmates. Unfortunately, this is not the reality - with a growing number of privatized prisons, the quality of life for inmates and their families is dissipating. The U.S. prison system is in desperate need of reform; closing down private prisons will help in alleviating monetary pressure, reducing abuse reports, and lowering the rate of reincarceration in individuals. Prison reform should be seen as a priority, as nonviolent offenders are suffering far more than they should, and are purposely conditioned to be reincarcerated after their release. Private prisons are rapidly growing in the U.S. to keep up with a growing number of inmates. With the rising number of prisoners, prisoner abuse levels are also rising exponentially. This is due to the fact that private prisons are a booming industry that exploits prisoners for profits. Private prisons may seem beneficial at a glance; however, they enforce lax regulations and are notorious for overcrowding and “barbaric” conditions. Prisons should rehabilitate nonviolent offenders in
Since 1984, the California Penal System has been forced to undergo drastic changes resulting from increased legislation aimed at increasing the severity of retribution to offenders leading to an exponentially increasing prison population. In the 132 years between 1852 and 1984, the state of California built twelve prisons, but has since supplemented the prison system with 21 new facilities. In 1977, the California Department of Corrections was responsible for 19,600 inmates. California’s inmate population now stands at 160,655, an increase of close to 800%.
In 2011, I spent time serving in prisons with a church organization who’s goal was to change the systemic problems within the prison system. This caused me to examine all aspects of inequality and oppression that disproportionately affects people of color.
In America, there are fundamental principles upon which our nation is built. Beliefs that all Americans naturally possess the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness seem all pervasive. Today in America, equality encompasses religion, sexual orientation, race, and everything in between. These values have become so intrinsic to the modern human condition that the mind shirks from the prospect of denying them to anyone. However, it seems that certain areas of American society have become exempt from the moral imperative that is upholding these basic and fundamental rights. It has become brutally obvious that private prisons have failed to respect the humanity of their inmates, which is why the United States Federal Government should
Prison reform is a significant issue that the United States government should enforce. It would aid in creating a more organized system of incarceration. Prison reform is an attempt to improve, change, or eliminate certain conditions in prisons. It is believed that it should be enforced due to the cases of overcrowding, lack of proper education, and the lack of rehabilitation that could inform prisoners of societal values. Prison reform would increase the self-esteem that was diminished in the prisoner’s personal history. Prison reform is significantly important as it will heighten the amount of self-worth in the prisoner and cause a decrease in the population of prisoners who return to a life of crime. Recidivism, or chance of recommitting a crime, will therefore be reduced. Prisoner who are released will not have all the negative ideals or influence from the prison that is usually spread until their release. Prison reform will help society if the increase in education and decrease in overcrowding is ensued upon the prison system with this policy.
Privatizing prisons may be one way for the prison population to get back under control. Prisons are overcrowded and need extra money to house inmates or to build a new prison. The issue of a serious need for space needs to be addressed. “As a national average, it costs roughly $20,000 per year to keep an inmate in prison. There are approximately 650,000 inmates in state and local prisons, double the number five years ago. This costs taxpayers an estimated $18 billion each year. More than two thirds of the states are facing serious overcrowding problems, and many are operating at least 50 percent over capacity. (Joel, 1988)” Private prisons may be for profit, but if they can solve the issue of cost then it may be a